The nanny-parent relationship is one built on trust. It cannot properly function otherwise. You ultimately need to feel comfortable leaving your children with this caregiver and confident in their intentions and abilities.
A trusting relationship benefits you, your nanny, and, most especially, your children. You have peace of mind that your children with a caregiver you have faith in. Your nanny is more confident in their actions knowing they have your support. And your children will be safer with a caregiver who is invested in their job.
But establishing a climate of trust is not easy and it does not happen overnight. It can take weeks or longer to develop.
Here are some tips for you to build trust with your nanny.
1. Be transparent
Nothing erodes trust faster than not following through on a promise. Your nanny can understand infrequent lapses, but families whose actions and statements don’t often align will never earn the trust of their workers. To help in this regard, you should be transparent when dealing with your nanny. This means keeping them in the loop about situational developments and not over-promising.
2. Talk straight
Being wishy-washy when communicating can make it difficult for your nanny to trust the message being conveyed. It makes it hard to understand where someone is coming from and their intent. That’s why you should talk straight with your employee – use simple language and be clear about expectations. Nannies know they are not perfect and want to learn and improve.
And, if your nanny has questions, you should promptly address them with as much detail as possible. If your employee is left to speculate about a situation, they may deem their family untrustworthy if their speculations don’t align with the final outcome. Straight talk can eliminate this common pitfall.
At the same time, positive feedback is always welcomed. Caring for children is a demanding job and nothing can help bolster a nanny who is doing a good job than a “nice work today” or “you’re doing fantastic, thank you.”
3. Acknowledge your shortcomings
Nobody is perfect. Nannies don’t expect their families to be infallible, but they do expect them to acknowledge their mistakes. If a family starts developing a reputation for breaking promises or contradicting themselves, they must be self-aware enough to acknowledge these tendencies and to make moves to improve. As you expect your nanny to learn from past errors and develop themselves professionally, you should as well as a household employer.
4. Stay consistent
Consistency is an excellent way to build trust. This entails setting clear expectations between you and your nanny. It also means thinking carefully before responding to a situation. A parent becomes untrustworthy when they react inconsistently to similar incidents. In contrast, when you demonstrate consistency, your nanny may be more comfortable speaking to you, as they can more easily predict how you will react.
5. Define values
Clearly defined values work in tandem with consistency. Nannies should know where their families stand on certain aspects, particularly their values. Since parents can be examples of model caregivers, expressing your values can help your nanny align themselves for the benefit of the overall team.
6. Give trust to get trust
Trust is a shared characteristic – rarely does one party trust another, but not the other way around. That’s why it’s critical for parents to trust their nannies. When you a hire an in-home caregiver for your children, you are giving up some control. That can be hard. But it is necessary to be accomodating and to remember you hired a professional, qualified caregiver. Give them the flexibility and and freedom to do their job. In turn, your nanny will trust you back. Of course, trust must always be earned, so parents shouldn’t trust blindly. Rather, you should take your employee at their word and give them the benefit of the doubt until there is a reason not to.
7. Stand up for your nanny
Perhaps the best way to build trust is to help your nanny when they need it. The differences between a parent who has their nanny’s back versus a parent who throws their employee under the bus are astronomical.
When a parent “goes to bat” and stands up for their nanny, they immediately build trust. Maybe there is an issue with another nanny or parent at the playground or school pick-up. Perhaps there is some friction between your caregiver and grandparents or other family members. Whatever it is, when a parent diminishes their nanny, they will almost never earn their trust.
Trust is a two-way street. You have a sense of what makes your nanny trustworthy – transparency and consistency chief among them. So, it follows that parents should also demonstrate those qualities to earn and maintain trust.
Reported with permission from GTM Payroll & HR (www.gtm.com)